BIV is proud to recognize six B.C. leaders as 2021 Influential Women in Business Award recipients.
A Q&A with honouree Lotte Davis follows.
What career highlight are you most proud of?
The proudest moment in my career was when I brought a student from Kenya as a surprise guest to speak at our annual One Girl Can fundraiser in Vancouver in 2019. Her sponsors were in the audience and had funded five years of university so that Kathy, a brilliant girl living in extreme poverty in Nairobi, could become a civil engineer. When she walked onto the stage, you could hear a pin drop before she began to speak eloquently and passionately about how the gift of education had changed her life. We invited her sponsors on stage to meet her for the first time, and when they embraced each other in a prolonged pose, there wasn’t a dry eye left in the audience. Everyone won that night.
Your toughest professional challenge as a woman in business?
As a woman running a company in partnership with my husband, I would say my toughest professional challenge, particularly through the ’90s, was debunking the misconception that I did not work for my husband in a subjugated position, but was every bit his equal in all aspects. People often assumed that the important work was being done by the man, and that his wife was there to support him in a lesser capacity.
Greatest advice ever received?
My best friend always gives me this advice when I’m in a quandary and I ask her opinion: “What do you think is the best way to deal with this?” It turns out I usually already have the answer.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
I wish I had known my own strengths as I do now. Women so often second-guess themselves when they should more readily trust their instincts and experience, and just go for it.
What does it take to be a leader in 2021?
Adapt a heightened sense of urgency on an everyday basis. Take the learnings this pandemic has presented us with and be prepared to change your business model, your brand strategies, your processes. Bring new skills and resources into your business not just to survive, but to bring about the best possible outcome now. Don’t wait to create the change your business will need to compete in a post-pandemic world.
What is your best habit?
Not taking ‘No’ for an answer.
A book you could recommend?
I recently read American Dirt and enjoyed this very much. Also Elena Ferrante – My Brilliant Friend, or The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish.
One surprising or improbable fact about yourself?
I have never been seen without lipstick on.
A video of this year's virtual awards gala can be viewed at biv.com/iwib starting March 8.